1% fewer students accepted on university degree courses
Ucas figures shows that record numbers are finding places through clearing.
Fewer students have been accepted on to UK degree courses this year, Ucas figures show.
A total of 408,960 people, from the UK and overseas, have had places confirmed, down 1% on the same point last year, according to data published by the university admissions service.
Among UK students, 348,890 applicants have been accepted, also a 1% fall compared with 2018.
A record 7,960 students have found places through clearing so far this year.
Of these, 3,690 went directly into clearing to secure a spot rather than applying through the main application scheme.
Clearing is an increasingly popular route for students to find a degree course, with leading universities among those offering last-minute places through the system.
The figures come on the day that sixth-formers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland receive their A-level results.
Students gaining results can log on to the Ucas Track website to see if their university place has been confirmed.
While overall acceptances have fallen, a breakdown shows that record numbers of international students are snapping up places.
In total, 33,630 students from outside the EU have found places, Ucas said, driven by a 32% rise from China.
There has been a small increase in the number of EU students accepted, with 26,440 confirmed so far.
But the number of UK 18-year-olds taking up places has fallen by just under 1% to 199,370, amid a 1.9% drop in the population of this age group in the UK.
The data also shows a rise in numbers of poorer teenagers securing degree places.
A record 17.3% of 18-year-olds from the most disadvantaged backgrounds in England have been accepted – a rise of 0.8 percentage points on 2018.
In Wales, 15.8% from the most disadvantaged backgrounds have been accepted, along with 13.2% in Northern Ireland – both up on previous years.
Clare Marchant, Ucas chief executive, said: “The record proportions of disadvantaged students off to university, combined with the highest number of international students we’ve seen accepted at this point, is testament to students’ hard work and the attraction of our world-class universities and colleges.”
A PA snapshot taken on Thursday afternoon shows that among Russell Group universities alone, 18 institutions (75%) still had availability on at least one course through clearing.
Courses available included English, maths and engineering.